Find out what MECBC got up to in Easter Term 2017. This issue features articles and interviews by rowers, coxes and coaches alike, updates from our alumnae, and more!
We would also like to add a special welcome to this year’s freshers – we hope you’ve enjoyed Boatie Tea this afternoon, and we would love to see you down at the river!
Calling All Students Old and New: Murray Edwards College Boat Club is recruiting for our next novice squad, and we need you!
No prior rowing experience needed!
Taster sessions will be held during the first week of term, and we will be hosting a Boaty Tea in the walkway of college on Monday 2nd October, where you can ask us any questions about what being part of MECBC involves.
Sign up here to be part of Cambridge’s most iconic sport, and the biggest sports society Murray Edwards College has to offer: https://goo.gl/forms/Y1YKn2ssspjiyZJ72
In the meantime, if you have any questions, just drop the Lower Boats Captains an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Saturday for W2 dawned bright, sunny and nerve-wracking, with St. Edmund’s W1 keen to get revenge for the previous day’s row over behind us, and us aiming to bump Tit Hall back after we were bumped by them on Wednesday. We were all hopeful, though, and despite Nadia’s unexpected flat tyre half way to the boathouse (and despite my getting stung by some kind of plant on the bank as we were pulled in), we made it to the P&E to marshal in perfect time with no major setbacks.
The tension was certainly palpable on our row up to the start, but our practice start in front of the Plough was strong and very fast, and we hoped that would put us in a strong position for the real thing. We waited nervously at our station, on the outflow again, and as the four-minute and one-minute guns went off, the rowers prepared themselves to row as hard as they could, while I prepared myself to take the corners as tightly as I could, and to keep the crew motivated and pushing with all their strength.
We were pushed out late to account for the outflow, and it felt like no time at all before the gun went off, and our final day of May Bumps 2017 had begun! Our start was strong, though unfortunately so was Eddie’s, and so was Tit Hall’s. We kept our distance from Eddie’s all the way to First Post Corner, and though they started to make gains around Grassy, a strong Power Ten pushed them further away. We were still staying strong all the way past the Plough, and we got onto the first part of the Reach before Eddie’s finally made contact, and both crews moved to the bank and off the racing line.
Though the result of Saturday’s race was disappointing, the incredible row over of the day before meant that none of us were too disheartened, and the thought of not having got spoons kept us cheery. The crew’s rowing improved hugely with every day of Bumps (and we did the whole of Saturday’s race between rates 35 and a half and 38!), and we were just unlucky in that we had strong crews around us who were just that little bit faster on the day. We’re all nonetheless very proud of our Bumps campaign this year, and hopefully we can bump Eddie’s back next year!
Alice Levin, cox
It was the final day of Bumps, with a predicted temperature of about 32 degrees. No clouds, no wind, racing early afternoon in the blazing sun. Yikes! Trying to stay courageous, we focused on tactics for the race ahead. After the triumph of the first day, we had two tough row-overs chasing Trinity Hall W1 and being chased by Newnham W2. The previous day we had a very strong row, with every crew rowing their very best, and today could be no different. The aim was simply to get out there and row like we knew how to row, and to stay on Trinity Hall’s tail until they made a mistake.
Rowing from the marshalling zone, the sun was killing us. Stopping briefly in front of the Murray Edwards alumnae picnic, sympathetic shouts about the heat were encouraging but did little to lighten our burden. For the final ten minutes before the cannon, the crew actually had to get out of the boat and sit in the shade for a bit just to recover some strength. Getting back into the boat, we all tried to focus, thinking that the better we rowed, the sooner we’d be able to get out of the sun. And the cannon went! We started out strong, keeping pace with Trinity Hall, the wind generated from the boat’s speed a refreshing relief. On the corner, however, something didn’t feel quite right. There was a wobble, then another. All of a sudden we passed Trinity Hall! They had bumped Kings W1 ahead of them! And Newnham behind us were really going for it. As we went around Grassy Corner and onto the Plough Reach they were just off our stern, but we wouldn’t let them get us easily. With our remaining strength we kept them where they were for the whole of the Plough Reach, but sadly as we reached Ditton Corner they finally bumped us. We worked hard, but they worked harder!
Rowing back to the boathouse slightly disappointed, we were still pleased with our performance over the Bumps campaign and were proud to have drawn level in the charts. Encouraged by this, we focused on enjoying our last row together as a crew.
Amanda Sjödahl, 7
It was the third day of Bumps for W3, and there was a feeling of apprehension amongst the crew. Our inability to catch King’s the previous day before they caught Anglia Ruskin meant that we now had to face the possibility of being bumped by Darwin from behind if once again we were not speedy enough in bumping. Four of our crew met for a crew lunch at the Fort Saint George, where we discussed tactics with Ying and Reana – essentially, we had to ‘fly or die’.
Our row up went without problems. Theoretically we could pull this off, as we had almost caught King’s, who had caught Anglia Ruskin; therefore, we could catch Anglia Ruskin too. However, as we marshalled, the Darwin coach approached us, asking if we were intending to bump today, and to clear the river quickly after our obstruction of their crew on the Wednesday. Odd.*
Our start was very strong – we got a shout out on Cam FM for best start in the division, in fact – and as the race began our chances looked good. We took a tight corner on Grassy and gained three whistles on Anglia Ruskin, but we were not quite able to seal the deal, and a wide corner later, Darwin came out of nowhere to bump us out of Ditton. However, this was by far the best rowing we had done as a crew, and I was very proud of us.
Clara Percival, 2
*N.B. It would seem that Darwin had been planning to overbump once we had caught Anglia Ruskin, to put them at the top of the division, as they clearly had been holding back on power; this was further emphasised the following day when they caught Anglia Ruskin in under a minute.
After two bumps in as many days, W2 were out to make a comeback as Friday dawned bright and sunny. After some substitute-based palaver earlier in the week, I was to row after all. Thus, we had a full crew ready to race after Newnham W3 and away from St Edmund’s W1.
The row down was solid. We had a clean start in front of the Plough and, after some shouting from Mark, achieved a decent amount of cover with each stroke up to our station. Our station on Friday was on the outflow, but we didn’t let this disrupt our focus on the start.
The cannon went off and we were soon executing our best start of the term. We achieved whistles on Newnham almost immediately – quite an achievement after being bumped by them just after Grassy the day before. The rest of the race saw us at our best. Power tens and a restart helped us keep St Eddie’s at bay as we rowed over the whole of the course.
It is safe to say exhaustion had never felt so good. Despite our row over, costing our cox Alice her voice, the whole crew were incredibly proud to have shown Newnham some real fight and to have beaten off St Ed’s. We rowed so fast that I also managed to catch my train in time. Yay! The row put us in excellent spirits for the fourth and final day of Bumps.
Hope Mason, bow
It was the second day of our Bumps campaign. We were motivated by the success of the previous day, when we had bumped Fitzwilliam’s W2 in fewer than fifty strokes. Now we were chasing King’s W2, and we knew that this boat wouldn’t be easy prey. However, we were ready to give everything we had to catch them.
The weather was nice, sunny and warm, though there was a head wind blowing downstream and against the direction of the race, thus making our job more difficult. Two of our alumnae, Reana and Ying, followed us to the start and supported us during the whole of the race. The start was nerve-wracking. We waited for the first cannon, then the second, then the third, and then started with our first draw and wind strokes. After a powerful start sequence, we went off at a very firm rate, cutting the first corner, then being very risky on Grassy Corner, going very fast, hearing whistles all the while. Our cox shouted that we were so close, and I wondered how close we actually were. Our power was dropping with each stroke, until we were asked to hold it up. After a moment of confusion, we realised that King’s had bumped Anglia Ruskin, who were at the top of our division. We were so close to bumping them that we had to stop as well, and we were awarded a technical row over.
On the way back to the boathouse, we were not able to calm our racing hearts, or our coughs – the kind of cough that appears after a sprint and which makes you feel like you are tasting blood. Even though we did not bump, it was an unforgettable racing day for me.
Lisa Al-Faradzh, 3
It was another beautiful day in Cambridge and W2 were feeling confident and ready to get the revenge bump on Trinity Hall. Even though yesterday hadn’t gone our way, we knew with a quick start and hard first minute we were in with a good chance! The row down was solid and flowing well and the boat felt rejuvenated. Our practice start outside the Plough was very quick, faster than most during training, and so we were all nervous but eager to go when we reached our station.
The cannon went and we pushed off hard. The draws and winds came fast and furious, feeling more settled then the day before. Behind us, it was clear Newnham W3 had started well and were creeping up on us. As we all pushed through to lengthen the strokes, Newnham continued to advance up to First Post Corner, gaining two whistles. Out of the corner, despite the boat close behind, our cox Alice called for a restart and took us through the draws and winds again to find a new push. This brought the crew back to a new focus and we drove forward towards Grassy.
Around Grassy, despite the poise and power in our boat, Newnham pushed further up on us, gaining some overlap. This did not stop us though; all of us were determined to keep rowing hard. Unfortunately, just after Grassy, Newnham’s cox took a clean line and managed to get physical contact, and thus a bump on our stern.
The day has not given us the result we had hoped for, but our row was strong and we never gave up. Throughout the race, we all pushed hard but Newnham were just quicker on the day. Tomorrow is a fresh start, and most importantly we have learnt we can keep pushing through in difficult situations and will keep fighting until the end!
Nadia Blackshaw, 7
W3 arrived at the boathouse on Wednesday, nervous but excited for the first day of our Bumps campaign. We were bolstered by the sight of alumnae Reana and Ying, whose experience and wisdom were reassuring for our crew, composed of still relatively new rowers! Stocked up with sweets and water, we made our way down to the P&E in plenty of time. We watched the first couple of M5 boats come down, but unfortunately then heard that there had been an incident in the division that would delay ours significantly. Not to be deterred, we took the opportunity for a quick photo shoot with the President Dame Barbara, who had arrived to bank party us.
Eventually, it was time to make our way down to the start, and after another slight delay, the one-minute cannon was fired. Pushed off the bank and coming forward to front stops, we anticipated the start cannon. Off it went, and the crew began our new start sequence developed by Gen, our coach this term. Albeit slightly messy, we held the start together and then settled into a nice, if slightly fast, rhythm. Before we knew it we heard, one, two, three, and then continuous whistles – we had bumped Fitz W2 in no time! We pulled into the far bank at first post corner – which somewhat awkwardly was full of Fitzwilliam supporters! Nonetheless, we celebrated a successful first day, and rowed home with smiles on our faces, ready to do it all again tomorrow!
Jules Thompson, 5